Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More Fun in Moab 2017: Biking and Canyonlands

After we finished the Moab Adventure 5K Race and had plenty of post-race refreshments, we went back to the hotel and swam. It was so nice to relax by the pool! Then it was time to eat and then we wanted a mild adventure. Brooke suggested the paved bike trail next to the Colorado River, and that was perfect. It was windy, but otherwise it was gorgeous.

 We had the trail nearly to ourselves, and the shifting clouds made the scenery even more dramatic.

The trail is relatively short, about 2.5 miles of pavement, but that worked out fine.

On the way back we crossed over the bridge just for the fun of it. The Colorado River is impressive!

Along the way we saw a sight we weren't expecting--a slackliner. It was especially hard for the slackliner to stay upright due to the gusts of wind.

After that bike ride, we still had some daylight but not too much energy, so we decided to go for a drive up to Canyonlands National Park. The kids had never been there.

Across from the visitor center we found a beautiful viewpoint. The kids were happy to hang out with Brooke!

We stopped at an overlook and saw these fun-looking switchbacks.

We decided we had enough energy for the 1/4-mile long trail to Mesa Arch. This raven got there the easy way.

It was cool looking through the arch at the rugged scenery beyond.

A quick family photo.

Brooke and Desert Girl.

Desert Girl was into doing tree pose up on top of some rocks in the last rays of sunlight.

Then we went to the end of the road and saw the White Rim Trail, a 100-mile long trail that can be done by jeep or biking or hiking. It looks like it would be a lot of fun. Brooke had biked it in the spring and warned that camping permits can be hard to get.

That was plenty of activity for one day, so we went to bed. The next morning we got up ready for another adventure--mountain biking! We headed north of Moab to the Moab Brands Mountain Bike Area, where there are an array of trails.

While my husband biked with the kids, Brooke led me on a series of trails that she made look easy.

In places they challenged me. But Brooke reminded me that I had taken her caving even though she had claustrophobia and she had done it, so I should buck up and just bike. I appreciated the tough love.


After I got over some of my initial nervousness, I really enjoyed it. I built up more confidence. Until the last couple miles, when I was so tired!


We found my husband and the kids back in the parking lot and told them about the OK Corral, a super neat part at the end of the parking lot. You can ride where ever you want. This was incredibly fun.

The kids kept riding and riding, especially Desert Girl. She said she could ride there all day.

Thanks to Brooke for sharing these adventures with us!

If you're heading to Moab, there is so much to do! Here are some of our adventures:

And nearby:

 What do you like to do in Moab? I feel like we've just barely scratched the surface!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2017 Moab Adventure 5K Race

 A few years ago we went to Moab and I participated in an Adventure 5K race and the kids did an Adventure 1K race. It was so much fun I wanted to do it again, and the kids are now old enough they could do it too. We invited our friend, Brooke, who had moved to Colorado to join us, and fortunately she was able to. We met the night before at a hotel and went swimming (warm November!). The next morning we got up and headed to the race site. The marathoners had already started and the half-marathoners were in the process of leaving in waves.

We had time to do a little warm-up dancing.

Brooke got a family photo for us.


And I wanted a photo with Brooke. Can you spot our little photobomber?

The Adventure 5K started in four waves: competitive men, competitive women, recreational, and family and friends. Brooke, Desert Boy, and I started in the third wave, and my husband and Desert Girl started in the fourth wave. The trail quickly became single track.

Soon we were jumping across a creek.

Then it was up a hill and through a cave.

We could see a line forming on the other side of a ravine for the first rope section.

We climbed a ladder and got in line. We had about a 15-20 minute wait.

The line behind us was even longer, and my husband and Desert Girl had to wait an hour here.

Desert Boy was glad when it was his turn, and he scrambled right up.

We had some nice slickrock running on the other side. Here the trail was marked with flour.

Desert Boy started getting really tired here.

Soon we had some downhill, including another roped section.

Then run through a culvert!

Next came the obstacle course. We had to crawl under the cargo nets.

There was even a burlap sack hop.

The balancing was a bit tricky. So was the frisbee golf.

Brooke finished quite fast, sixth woman overall. And a young lady was the overall winner for the Adventure 5K.

Because of their long wait, we had time to go back and find my husband and Desert Girl at the obstacle course.

We've since implemented a couple of these obstacles in our yard!

It would be fun to put in even more.

Here they are near the end.

This adventure 5k race is a little pricey, but a lot of fun. We didn't like the waits for the cliff, so if we do it again, we'll try to be faster in the first part (and not start in the last wave). I'm also really tempted to do the half-marathon, it would be a super pretty course.

Next post: the rest of the Moab trip. You can't go to Moab and just do one thing!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ice Skating above 10,000 Feet

 My friend Jenny told me that Stella Lake was frozen and that they had gone ice skating on it. What!? Stella Lake is above 10,000 feet in Great Basin National Park. Usually the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed in mid-October, but because of the lack of precipitation, it was still open in mid-November.

So Desert Girl and I headed up there Sunday morning, leaving at 7 a.m. to try to get there when it was coldest. When we arrived, we found that there was open water on part of Stella Lake. Uh, oh.

Fortunately the little cove on the east side was frozen over with about two-inch thick ice. So we put on our skates and gingerly stepped out on the ice.

Desert Girl was absolutely delighted. She fell in love ice skating last winter, and we even bought some skates for her (fortunately they adjust to four different sizes, so they'll last more than one season). She hadn't quite found her rhythm at Fire and Ice last January, but she sure wanted to try again!

She had such a good attitude and was so fun to be with!

The bubbles in the ice were fascinating.

Desert Girl did not want to stop. I had to take a break, but she kept going.

The ice was so beautiful, nice and smooth.

I climbed up the bank to get more of an overview of the lake. You can see the cove where we were. It was at most one foot deep under the ice.

We then went to Teresa Lake and had a great time skating there, but my phone battery crashed in the cold and I couldn't take any photos. Maybe that was a good thing, because it made me want to go back! The weather cooperated, so after school on Wednesday, Desert Girl and I headed back up the mountain.

We hiked to Teresa Lake, arriving about four p.m. Desert Girl chatted on the hike there, she was so thrilled to be skating again, and the hike went very fast.

I was excited when we got to the lake, because the clouds were turning colors and the ice still seemed thick enough. (I was a little worried because it was late in the day and temps had been above freezing.)

Desert Girl kept calling it Teresa Pond because it was so small. A lot of the water evaporates, and the lake shrinks during the summer. This summer it stayed big longer than usual, but it still got small in the fall.

Desert Girl called me over to look at a peanut in the ice. This is what she pointed out.

The ice was mostly smooth, although there were a couple interesting depressions in it. People had thrown rocks on the ice, and they had frozen in just enough that we couldn't move them. So we had some obstacles to avoid.

The clouds kept moving fast, the light kept changing, and I felt like I was in a magical world. Desert Girl improved her skating quite a bit.

 We found some evidence of higher lake levels on the south shore.

More fun patterns.

 Finally we were at the last light. We skated over to the edge, thanking God for such a marvelous place and experience. We had a pleasant twenty-minute dark hike back to the vehicle. The memories will last much, much longer!

I don't know if we'll ever have the opportunity to skate on these lakes again, as usually we have snow. But if the weather works out, we will surely be back, because this is an amazing place to go ice skating.
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